Women on Boards Initiative

It is a surprising statistic, but currently only 17% of Fortune 500 board members are women. Inspired to address this inequity and its impact on the business landscape, Forté partnered with its sponsoring business schools and companies to advance women into corporate board positions.

Forté is the only organization in the US that connects the leading business schools and top companies around the topic of women in business. Tapping this network of highly successful women who have corporate board potential will increase access and provide transparency into the selection process.

Forté is creating the most comprehensive list of board-ready women with the goal of bringing attention to the lack of women on corporate boards.

Forté partners with leading business schools across the globe to identify women who are interested in advancing their careers and ultimately becoming Board eligible. To continue this effort, Forté member schools collectively are making a difference in the number of women on boards by supporting the board ready initiative.

Forté has joined forces with the European Commission, the Financial Times and a host of other leading organizations and institutions to play a prominent role in identifying and promoting qualified senior female leadership. Forté Foundation is the US partner of the initiative and a member of the Task Force. 

The Task Force has agreed on the following criteria to determine Board Readiness:

Quantitative Criteria

All women on the list should have at least five years of experience in one or more of the following roles:

  1. Chair and/or non-executive director of listed or private corporations
  2. Chief Executive Officer, COO, CFO or other C-suite executive or director level appointments in listed or private corporations
  3. Family member and controlling shareholder of boards of large family companies
  4. Director of government agencies
  5. Director of non-profit organizations
  6. Senior professional in institutional investment community
  7. Senior partner at professional firms serving boards and their committees as clients
  8. Entrepreneur

Women who make the Board-Ready list should also be able to demonstrate that they are financially literate. Profit & Loss experience is advantageous, given that some large companies have this as a prerequisite for board roles.

Qualitative Criteria

In addition, the Task Force believes that candidates should be practitioners of excellence in corporate governance. This suggests the following qualities:

  1. Articulate communicator and good listener
  2. High level of emotional intelligence ability to understand the dynamics of the boardroom, how to deal with conflict when it arises
  3. Ability to self-assess
  4. Can enhance contribution through feedback
  5. Can lead when appropriate, but aware of collective responsibility and engagement
  6. Can challenge constructively and be supportive when necessary
  7. Sharp mind and good judgment
  8. Self-confident without being dogmatic
  9. Understand the importance of independence
  10.  Courage to stand up for that which is in the best interests of the company
  11.  Understand how to add value to a board
  12.  Team player

Women on the list will also be expected to have made a conscious commitment to assume the role and responsibility of corporate governance in a publicly quoted company.

How to Apply

After reviewing the above quantitative and qualitative criteria, and finding that your background matches the requested criteria, you may be formally considered for the Global Board-Ready Women List. Simply email your LinkedIn profile and the email address where you wish to be contacted. The nominating committee will review your submission and contact you with next steps.

All board ready women are welcome.  Forté is organizing the efforts in the US, but the scope of eligible women is not limited to alumnae of Forté sponsor schools. For individuals and/or organizations or institutions that are not Forté members, please email to the administrator of the Global Board Ready Women LinkedIn group, Financial Times. Individual nominations will be asked to submit a CV. If they meet the eligibility criteria, the administrator will ask them for two references. If these references are acceptable, they will be allowed to join the group. If there is any doubt at all, the administrator will refer them to the Task Force for final approval.


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